Saturday, December 28, 2013

ADX FirstLook: Sim720 Inverness And Stornoway!

FSX/P3D. With the 2013 Christmas holiday nearly over, I can finally try and get back to work. There were several releases in the past week and we are scrambling to cover them all. So much work, so little time. Today, I head back up to Scotland to get a look at Sim720's latest 2 releases: Inverness and Stornoway. With the former of the 2 being their best release this year, my opinion of course. This team has hit the ground running with 5 releases just in the past 3 months and several more in the pipeline. So come with me as I hop into my little Iris Jabiru and make haste to Scotland! Bandwidth Warning!

EGPO Stornoway Airport lies 2.3 miles (3.7 km or 2 NM) east of the town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. Association with the Royal Air Force goes back to 1928 when a flying boat landed in Stornoway harbour, long before there was landing ground for wheeled aircraft. Grass runways were completed in 1937 and the airport was taken under military control in 1941. During the period 1986 to 1993 the airport was used as a NATO Forward Operating Base for Air Defence aircraft protecting the fleet, being taken over by the military for 6 weeks a year. Now operated by HIA (Highlands and Islands Airports), the airport provides domestic passenger services (over 125,000 passengers a year) as well as hosting the HM Coastguard helicopter search and rescue and private aircraft flights. It is the gateway to the Western Isles of Scotland.




First impressions are the quality of the phototerrain at 30cm resolution within airport boundaries and 60cm resolution outside the boundaries. The coastlines are crisp and well detailed as they meet the water.





The airport comes complete with plenty of vehicle, vegetation, static characters, and airport objects adding to the environmental immersion.



One area I would like to point out is the massive improvement on ground textures. This was an area that I suggested needed improvement in my past coverage of Sim720 airports and what a major improvement. No complaints!




Good on site photography with highres terminal textures.


All airport buildings and textures are present and represented in decent detail surrounded by many objects.










I might gripe just a bit with the texturing and coloring methods used on the fire station. Something just doesn't look right and doesn't seem to match the standard used all over the rest of the airport.



Very sharp and crisp texturing as seen from above.


This is deffo a perfect destination for Q400's and Avroliners. I would like to see Sim720 airports get AES coverage. More features include: High-res ground polygon, hand placed hi-res buildings within airport boundaries, custom autogen buildings outside the airport boundary, extensive library of airport clutter, accurate taxiway lanes, custom made static aircraft, custom night-lighting and improved runway lights, 3D grass, and is fully compatible with Default, Orbx, and Horizon terrain addons.


After spending nearly half a day up in Stornoway, I made my way back to the main ramp to find a nice little Iris Jabiru J-160 waiting for me. Before flight, I whipped out the trusty camera and proceeded to take some shots!





I fired her up and made haste to the active! Let's get some areal shots of Stornoway before setting course to Inverness.









Here we see the surrounding neighborhoods represented in high detail.





The Jaibru is quite a fun little aircraft to fly. Good quality textures that are complete with plenty of bells and whistles! You are sure to have a great time with this bird. Let's point the nose southeast for the short trip to Inverness. Let's hope the weather clears a bit.

You can purchase Stornoway here: http://flight.sim720.co.uk/products_stornoway.php

My first impressions of Inverness are clear right off the bat. This is Sim720's best work of 2013 and the most exciting destination of the North. A great quality airport and surroundings offers a very interesting environment. Close enough to see the ghost of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the 1746 site of the Battle of Culloden. EGPE Inverness Airport is situated at Dalcross, 8.1 miles (13km or 7NM) north east of the city of Inverness and is the gateway to the magnificent Scottish Highlands. Operated by HIA (highlands and islands airports), the airport hosts a range of scheduled flights throughout the UK and into a few European destinations. Over half a million passengers on more than 15,000 scheduled flights a year use the airport. Originally it was used by the RAF in WWII and then opened for civil use in 1947. Since then it has had numerous carriers operating into the airport, which has been much developed.



The team has made great efforts to not only just model the airport, but the surrounding areas as well. I am glad I decided to VFR sight see the area prior to landing.  Here we can clearly see the Highlanders Museum with Chanonry Point in the background.



Very interesting landscape indeed up here.



Given my baby sized airplane I choose to approach the smaller runway 11.



Right away I was impressed with the ground textures. Great work!





Here we see the larger 05/23 approach perfect for your Q400, ASE, NGX choose your poison! 




Some frame friendly statics represent if you don't have AI. The FlyBe Majesitc Q400 is very tempting for a Southampton sortie!


I really like the surrounding terrain! Great terminal textures!




Now this fire station is much better looking than the one back up in Stornoway. The trucks are very nice looking too!



Got some floating objects here. Oops!


All the vehicles are of high quality and there are plenty of them.




Good fencing work too!






Great attention to detail!





Same as with Stornoway, Inverness comes complete with high-res ground polygon, hand placed hi-res buildings within airport boundaries, custom auto-gen buildings outside the airport boundary, extensive library of airport clutter, accurate taxiway lanes, custom made static aircraft, custom night-lighting and improved runway lights, 3D grass, and is fully compatible with Default, Orbx, and Horizon terrain addons.

The airport is lit at night but I wouldn't advise approaching too late...









Sim720 have developed some great airports for Scotland which is an area that has been overlooked for too many years. Pare these with UK2000's Cumbernauld, Glasgow, Aldergrove, and Edinburgh and you have some very decent coverage of Scotland. Open up Isle of Man by Earth Simulations and all the Orbx airports in England and Wales and the UK get's damn busy really fast! Great stuff indeed! 

There is much more coming from Sim720, I suggest you keep your eyes on these guys. Just in the past 2 months they have released 5 sceneries! More to come!

Check out Sim720 Inverness here: http://flight.sim720.co.uk/products_inverness.php

Happy Flighting!

D'Andre
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